* Prices may differ from that shown
As a young man leaving school, many years ago, I decided I would like to be a chef. Not least because you get to wear checked trousers and a funny hat and people don't laugh at you. I arrived at Catering college on the first day ready to be trained and moulded into a lean mean cooking machine and was promptly given a long list of text books I needed to help me on my way. At the top of the list was a book called "Practical Cookery" by Ceserani and Kinton. So off I went to the book shop and purchased the required books. Little did I know that I had just purchased the "Chefs Bible", a book that would become so indispensable it was better for a trainee chef to forget his knives than his copy of Practical Cookery.
The Authors credentials stand up to examination, Victor Ceserani MBE was the Head of Department at The School of Hotel keeping and Catering at Ealing, as well as an examiner for City and Guilds Advanced Cookery 706/3 (every would be chefs goal). As a Chef he has been apprentice at the Ritz hotel. Basically this chap knows his onions, literally.
Ronald Kinton was a chef at the Waldorf hotel and Claridges. He also taught at Garnett College which is where Catering teachers are trained.
David Foskett, the editorial Consultant of the book, was a senior lecturer at Ealing College of Higher Education. He has worked at the Dorchester and Savoy hotels and has also been a Chef technologist in many test kitchens for food manufacturers.
And so to the book itself, the chapters are as follows:-
1. Selection, use and care of knives
2. Useful Information
3. Methods of Cookery
4. Culinary Terms
5. Stocks and Sauces
6. Hors d`oeuvre, Salads and Sandwiches
9. Farinaceous Dishes
11. Lamb and Mutton
16. Poultry and Game
17. Vegetarian Dishes
The Useful information chapter has Metric and Imperial Conversion tables, Oven temperature guides, the content of Saturated, Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated fats in various oils and fats and dietary considerations. Methods of cookery covers all of the ways to cook food and gives pros and cons for cooking certain foods in certain ways. Also included is a list of the correct equipment to use for different methods of cooking.
Culinary terms is basically a kitchen French dictionary, this should help you tell your Consommé from your Cuisse de Poulet. On to the recipes in the book, and if it is not in Practical Cookery it probably is not worth eating. All of the recipes have their French name next to them, so you can amaze and impress your family and friends when you serve them Filets de plie frits et Pommes frites (Plaice and Chips). The recipes are well written in plain English and often include recommendations for accompanying dishes. The Various meat sections include information on all the cuts available from the particular animal, as well as the best way to cook and prepare them. There are also diagrams of the Dissection of the animal so you can joint up the meat yourself if you so wish. When I say that there is information on ALL the cuts available it is not an exaggeration, for those who just happen to have a pigs head in their fridge, (Don't we all), there are details on how to prepare it as well as a recipe for brawn
Every aspect of the cooking of ingredients is in the book, the most basic recipe I could find was Plain Boiled Potatoes (Pommes Nature), but once you have boiled potatoes mastered it opens up many of the other Potato recipes, 52 in total, to you. If you mash up your boiled potatoes, add some egg yolk and margarine you have a Duchess Potato mix. Mould some Duchess Potato Mix into 3cm flat cakes and shallow fry them and you have Galette Potatoes (Pommes Galette). The Pastry Chapter has over 200 recipes, from basic pastry to Pineapple Creole (Ananas Creole). Again all recipes are well laid out and explained thoroughly. The Farinaceous dishes section deals with pasta and rice. There are recipes to make your own pasta and noodles, which in my experience taste ten times better than the ready prepared variety.
The beauty of this book is that non chefs can enjoy it as well; it knocks most other recipe books into a cocked hat. So why not get a copy, maybe treat yourself to a chefs hat as well, and before you know it you could be a Gordon Ramsey in the making.